THE ROLE OF THE NEW MEDIA ON NEWSPAPER READERSHIP AMONG RESIDENTS OF KADUNA METROPOLIS
This research work examined the role of the new media on newspaper readership among residents of Kaduna metropolis. The basic objective of the study was to examine how often respondents read online newspaper whenever they access the internet and to ascertain if there is a relationship between the purchase of offline newspaper and online newspaper readership as well as how age affects respondents‘ preference for online or offline newspaper. The Uses and Gratification as well as Social Category Theories were used to explain this work. The survey method was used in this study through the administration of questionnaires which formed the main source of data collection, while the Chi-square test was used to check relationships. The research established that there was no significant relationship between access to the internet and online newspaper readership. It was also established that the main driving force for reading online newspaper was convenience. This study also established a significant relationship between readership of online newspaper and purchase of offline newspaper. A significant relationship between age and preference for newspaper was also established. Also, it was discovered that there is dearth of reading culture especially among younger people. However, there may be other factors like age and dearth of reading culture militating against the sales and readership of offline newspaper other than the free online newspaper readership. It was recommended that government establishments as well as private companies should endeavor to place adverts on pages of newspapers to ensure their survival and people, especially youths should also be encouraged to read newspaper
1.1 Background to the Study
The internet has become a phenomenal source of news and information that is threatening the traditional news media such as the newspapers. (Boczkowski, 2004). But because of the polarized views on the precise impact of the internet on the printed newspaper, the connection between the two is worthy of academic inquiry.
McLuhan (1964) has predicted the attainment of a ‗global village‘ in which information and experience would be freely available for all to share.
For centuries, the media of mass communication have been constantly evolving. In fact, today, the mass media is the most fluid industry with new innovations in information technology. Every passing season, it is either a new media is entering the market or there is an upgrade of an existing medium. Today, the internet has brought about digitization of the traditional media of mass communication namely: the broadcast (radio and television) and the print (newspapers, magazines etc.). It has also ushered in an era of online digital media and has raised the concept of new media. Pavlik and McIntosh (2011: 65) say, ―The web is not even twenty years old and has undergone dramatic technological and visual changes in its short life. Companies that did not exist fifteen years ago are now global media and technology powerhouse that rival established media companies.‖
The internet is having profound impact on the media of mass communication and on the audience of the traditional mass media.
At the heart of the issue is also the problem of cover price revenues and advertisements. Nigerians have popularised the ‗free readers association of Nigeria‘ (FAN) concept, a term and
acronym used to refer to the practice of locals congregating around newsstands to read newspapers and magazines for free. It may seem now that such practices have now been elevated and taken to another level with the advent of the internet, since the free readers or ‗punters‘ now only need to log on to any newspaper or magazine of their choice. This obviously may have some impact on revenues of such newspapers.
The internet has also provided Nigerian journalists with international exposure, they no longer have to travel to New York or London to be read or heard, they can file a story from remote areas and post it on the internet. This then exposes their writing style, journalistic ethics and professionalism to the scrutiny of both national and international audiences. In turn, Nigerian journalists are now able to also sample freely the writings of their counterparts in the established western media such as the Wall Street Journal. The Chicago Tribune, the Financial Times, which will lead to their adopting best practices. While some of these independent websites are national in outlook; there are also many of them that appeal only to particular ethnic audience. To some extent, photojournalists in Nigeria are now able to use Internet facilities such as electronic mails to upload and mail their pictures to their newsrooms from distant locations.
A major trend that has emerged in journalism practice in Nigeria as regards the internet is the rise of independent media. These sites are now competing with the established newspapers’ websites in the provision of news and information to Nigerians at home and abroad. The websites are already winning in the ratings stakes, as some of them claim daily visits which are quite higher than the figures the established newspaper organisations will even dream of. Some of the popular independent websites include, www. gamji.com, www. nigeriaworld.com, www. biafraworld.com, www. lagosforum.com, www. newsdailytrust.com among others.
Meanwhile, a vast majority of newspapers around the world have electronic copies. This is no longer an option for them because of the drop in revenue and readership. According to Krumsvik (2006), ―advertising revenues have plummeted due in part to the severe economic downturn, while readership habits have changed as consumers turn to the Internet for free news.‖ The impact of online newspapers on the hard print is more prevalent in some countries than others. In the US for instance, Crosbie, (2008) predicted that ―more than half of the approximately 1,400 daily newspapers in the country could be out of business by the end of the next decade.‖ Therefore, two forms of newspaper exist and operate side by side today. They are the hard print newspapers and the online newspapers. Nigerian online newspapers can be accessed through nigeriamasterweb.com; a website that houses most Nigerian newspapers or through each newspaper website.
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
According to Baran (2004), technology has led to newspapers all over the world reinventing themselves and becoming more user-friendly, more casual, more life-oriented and more in touch with the people. Taylor (2016), in his view stated that with the invention of the telegraph, radio and television, print newspapers have faced challenges over the years, yet publishers have always persevered. He further stated that however, the internet is proving to be a far more dangerous foe to the traditional newspaper model.
In spite of the advantages of the new media to humans and its possible fears on offline newspapers, there are still people who do not like to read online newspapers either for doubt of the credibility of the source or other personal reasons, while some use same as their main source of news information.
This study is an impact assessment of internet newspaper on the readership of offline newspaper in Kaduna State, Nigeria. In particular, the study seeks to investigate whether the internet is a threat to the offline newspaper or not and to know if online newspaper readership can ead to the extinction of offline newspaper.
1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study
Most studies in Nigeria relating to new media concentrated on and revealed an adoption and use of the internet by younger people. Awoyele, Siyanbola & Oladipo (2008) studied the level of penetration of internet usage among undergraduate students of Obafemi Awolowo University while Omotayo (2006) studied the use of internet among undergraduate students within the age range of 17-30 years in the same university.
Also, Oyero (2013) studied university students in the south-west and how they use the new media as news sources and the preference of young people between the social networks and traditional mass media as news sources.
However, there is need to examine the shift from offline newspaper readership to online newspaper readership among people of different age group within a metropolitan city. It is on this premise that this study seeks to find out newspaper readership in a metropolitan city like Kaduna. This cuts across people of different cultures, background, age group and economic status.
The general aim of this study is to examine the impact of the new media on newspaper readership. The specific objectives are as follows:
1. To examine the shift from offline newspaper readership to online newspaper readership
2. To ascertain if there is a relationship between the purchase of offline newspaper and online newspaper readership
3. To know if age can affect respondents‘ preference for online and offline newspapers.
1.4 Research Questions
The research questions proposed for this study are as follows:
1. How often do respondents read online newspapers?
2. How frequent do respondents buy offline newspapers?
3. How does age affect respondents‘ preference for online and offline newspapers?
1.5 Research Assumptions
There is no significant relationship between respondents‘ access to internet and reading online newspaper
There is significant relationship between respondents‘ access to internet and reading online newspaper
There is no significant relationship between readership of online newspaper and purchase of offline newspaper
There is significant relationship between readership of online newspapers and purchase of offline newspapers
There is no significant relationship between respondents‘ age and preference for newspaper There is significant relationship between respondents‘ age and preference for newspaper
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study seeks to elicit the shift from offline newspaper readership to online newspaper readership, thereby determining if this shift can lead to the extinction of the offline newspapers. Students of mass communication and journalism will also benefit from this study as findings from this study can serve as empirical reference material for further research.
1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study
This study aimed at knowing the extent to which the new media has affected the readership of offline newspapers among residents of Kaduna metropolis. The study also viewed the extent of exposure to the new media by the residents of Kaduna Metropolis. Although the study is limited to Kaduna Metropolis only, the study has obvious implication on the country, considering the cosmopolitan nature of a city like Kaduna which has people from all parts of the country. The major constraint of this study is that it does not include how the new media affects the broadcast media (Radio & Television.)